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Cinematheque 108

THe USC School of Cinematic Arts presents the Chinese Female Filmmakers Screening Series

Thursday, October 29, 2009
7:00 PM
Los Angeles, CA 90095

The gender equity program that was enforced by the state in socialist China led to the emergence of female filmmakers that directed numerous influential films in 1980s.  These female filmmakers who grew up under the new China after 1949 have continued to play a vital role in the field of Chinese cinema as well as TV drama production. Since film education was highly centralized in socialist China, the four female filmmakers selected in this screening series all graduated from the film directing department at Beijing Film Academy. Some of these women filmmakers such as Huang Shuqin and Zhang Nuanxin went to the film academy before the Cultural Revolution and they are referred as members of the Fourth Generation. Others such as Li Shaohong and Peng Xiaolian entered the film academy after the Cultural Revolution, and share the tag of the Fifth Generation.

In the mid-1980s, these female filmmakers worked in state-owned studio system and produced a wide range of films concerning the recent history as well as the present, the quotidian everyday life as well as the heroic moments. Allegorically or realistically, these films focus on the struggle and negotiation of a single or multiple female protagonists in different social contexts.

Thanks to the China Film Collection in USC Moving Image Archive, which includes over 100 Chinese films donated by China Film Corporation in 35mm format, we are glad to present a variety of works made by these female directors across thematic, stylistic and generational differences. All films will be shown in 35mm format with English subtitles.









7pm, Thu, Oct 29, 2009

Youth Sacrifice (qinchun ji青春祭), directed by Zhang Nuanxin张暖忻, 1985, Youth Film Studio, 101 min, on 35mm. A sent-down youth from Beijing discovered herself in her journey in Yunnan province.
Woman Demon Human(ren gui qing人鬼情), directed by Huang Shuqin 黄蜀芹, 1987, Shanghai Film Studio, 108min, on 35mm. Based on the real life of Peking Opera Star Pei Yanling, the film delineates the life of a famous female opera performer who impersonates male roles, especially the demon-ghost Zhong Kui. Claimed to be the first “feminist film” in China, this movie explores the issue of gender roles and subjectivity through exquisite mise-en-sene and carefully conceptualized framing. 

7pm, Thu, Nov 19, 2009

Bloody Morning (xuese qingchen血色清晨), directed by Li Shaohong 李少红, 1990, Beijing Film Studio, 100 min, on 35mm.
A Chinese adaptation of Gabriel García Márquez’s CRÓNICA DE UNA MUERTE ANUNCIADA (1981), this film captures the depressing everyday life in a small town where everyone knows a murder will happen.         

Women’s Story (nvren de gushi女人的故事), directed by Peng Xiaolian 彭小莲, 1987, Shanghai Film Studio, 96 min, on 35mm. Set in the era of reform, the movie focuses on three women from the countryside who flee to the city in search for a better life.


About the filmmakers:

Huang Shuqin黄蜀芹 (born. 1939) graduated from film directing department in Beijing Film Academy in 1964. After graduation, she worked as assistant director and director in Shanghai film studio. As one of the important figure among the Fourth Generation directors, Huang started her career as an assistant to director Xie Jin on several movies. Due to the Cultural Revolution, her critically acclaimed debut Contemporary People (dangdairen 当代人) was not produced and released until 1981. Her major works include Peinter, La (huahun 画魂, 1994), Woman Huamn Demon( renguiqin 人鬼情,1987).
Zhang Nuanxin 张暖忻 (1940-1995) graduated from film directing department in Beijing Film Academy in 1962. Zhang was a key figure among Fourth Generation film directors. Among Zhang’s best-known works are Seagulls (sha ou 沙鸥, 1981), Sacrificed Youth (qingchun ji 青春祭, 1985) and Good Morning Beijing (Beijing nizao 北京你早 1990).

Li Shaohong李少红 (born. 1955) graduated from film directing department in Beijing Film Academy in 1982. Her early feature films, Bloody Morning (xuese qingchen血色清晨, 1990) and Family Portrait (sishi buhuo四十不惑 1992) , Hong Fen (红粉1994) won numerous awards from international film festivals. As one of the Fifth Generation directors, Li continues to direct new films as well as a number of TV dramas that are well received.
Peng Xiaolian彭小莲 (born. 1953) entered film directing department in Beijing Film Academy in 1978. Working under the Shanghai Film Studio after graduation, Peng won critical acclaim with her works such as Women’s Story (1989). Peng furthered her studies at the New York University in early 1990s. In 1996, she returned to Shanghai and subsequently made several films using the metropolitan center as the backdrop of her female protagonists. Among the best-known films are Shanghai Story (meili shanghai美丽上海 2004),Shanghai Rumba (Shanghai lunba上海伦巴2006), Shanghai woman (jiazhuang mei ganjue假装没感觉2002). 


Cinematheque108 is an alternative screening series sponsored by the Critical Studies Division at the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts. All events are free and open to the public, and are on Thursday evenings in Lucas 108 unless otherwise noted. Please note that there will be no food, drink, or gum allowed inside the theater. Admission is Free.

The Location of the screening is room SCA108, School of Cinematic Arts, USC. The USC School of Cinematic Arts is located at 900 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90007. Parking passes may be purchased for $8.00 at USC Entrance Gate #5, located at the intersection of W. Jefferson Blvd. & McClintock Avenue. We recommend parking in outdoor Lot M or V, or Parking Structure D, at the far end of 34th Street. Please note that Parking Structure D cannot accommodate tall vehicles such as SUVs. Metered parking is also available along Jefferson Blvd.
For further information, please email Jia Tan (

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